Photography exhibition featuring breast cancer survivors opens at Ion Orchard

Ms Nurhana Abdul Ghani (right) and her daughter Aleesya Adriana in front of their family portrait at Ion Orchard on June 16. ST PHOTO: FELINE LIM

SINGAPORE - When she was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2017, Ms Nurhana Abdul Ghani's first thoughts were for her two young children.

Her daughter was in primary school, while her son was about three years old.

"I was wondering: What would happen to them? Who would look after them? And will I be able to actually watch them grow up?" the 38-year-old civil servant said.

She is currently cancer-free, and even had another son about a year after her final chemotherapy session.

Ms Nurhana is one of the 25 breast cancer survivors featured with their children in a photography exhibition launched on Thursday (June 16) by social service agency Breast Cancer Foundation (BCF), which is marking its 25th anniversary this year.

Nine notable Singaporean photographers, including Mr Russell Wong and Ms Lavender Chang, were involved in the project.

The exhibition will be open to the public for free at the Ion Art Gallery in Ion Orchard mall from Friday till the end of the month, after which a digital version of the exhibition will be available to the public for the rest of the year.

In her speech at the event, BCF president Staphnie Tang said early detection of breast cancer can increase survival rates.

Citing a recent report by the Singapore Cancer Registry, she said the five-year survival rate for women whose cancers were found at an early stage had significantly improved in the past 50 years - from 49.9 per cent to 82.1 per cent.

Health Minister Ong Ye Kung, who attended the event, told the guests at the launch that preventive care for breast cancer is a top agenda of the Ministry of Health.

He also said: "If we can just be more aware of the threats and risks of various diseases around us (and) take early action... you can avert so much pain and suffering."

Other guests at Thursday's event included Senior Parliamentary Secretary for Health and Law Rahayu Mahzam and Sembawang GRC MP Poh Li San.

One of the survivors featured in the exhibition, Ms Anne Ang, hopes the exhibition will help members of the public understand that support from family and friends is important for those suffering from the disease.

The 50-year-old Jetstar flight attendant was diagnosed with the disease in 2012, but completed treatment in early 2013 and has remained cancer-free since.

Ms Anne Ang (left) and photographer Mark Law at Ion Orchard on June 16, 2022. ST PHOTO: FELINE LIM

Ms Ang also said her experience had taught her to let go of things that she cannot control so as to move forward with her life.

Ms Nurhana advised those suffering from breast cancer to not give up, and to keep their family and friends close to them for support.

"Always hold on to the hope that you will see the light at the end of the tunnel," she said.

Join ST's WhatsApp Channel and get the latest news and must-reads.